Sometimes the Rain Comes Hard
I lost my job yesterday. Today my father died. A flat tire greeted me on my old Ford pick-up…something else unexpected. I threw my coffee-stained canvas satchel into the front seat. I change the tire, climb into the cab looking straight at an old black and white photo clipped to my visor. A tiny girl clad in faded overalls and a flannel shirt was clasping the hand of a large dark-haired, smiling man. Prying myself away from comforting memories, I look out my cracked windshield, seeing evening storm clouds brewing in the New Mexico sky. I push in the clutch, shift into reverse, back out the driveway heading to see my father’s serene face for the last time.
A hundred miles closer to my destination, I decide to stop for a jolt of caffeine. I am sitting on a bar stool at a hole-in-the-wall cafe between Albuquerque and El Paso, sipping on a mug of liquid energy, reflecting on what lie ahead. Sometimes the rain comes hard.
My dad was my life. He was large in stature, even larger in spirit. He was an encourager from the moment I took my first breath until he took his last. He was diagnosed with brain cancer six months ago. We researched and chose qualified doctors—we had a plan. We prayed daily for wisdom. We were hopeful. Everything seemed great, until an afternoon phone call from a voice I did not recognize. I am trying to block out her words with each slug of bitter, dark coffee.
I talked with my dad early this morning. We chatted over breakfast every morning, it was a routine we both clung to and needed. I think I needed it more. These sunrise morning soul washings got me through broken hearts, broken dreams, and broken faith. This morning we talked about my job loss and how he saw it as an opportunity. His voice held no clue he was lying on a bed in the ER. Although, he told me he loved me twice, which I thought a bit odd. Now, I know—he knew. Just like he knew when we had to say goodbye to my mother twenty years ago, another cancer victim.
Shaking my troubled head, I slide off my stool of contemplation, point my truck toward El Paso where my father will be lain next to my mother. What I didn’t tell Dad this morning was I didn’t lose my job, I quit. Soul washings didn’t come clean today. The rain is pelting my truck, the wet is seeping into my bones. My prayers have taken a turn. I will keep my appointment with my oncologist. I know my own chemo storm will soon be brewing. Surely, sometimes the rain comes hard.
Zee writes from rural Texas, where she finds many wonderful ideas for her imaginations. She has been published in journals, anthologies, theatre presentations, newspapers, calendars and in a book of essays. She was honored to be a feature writer in The Langdon Review: The Arts in Texas. She is currently working on a children’s story and a book of poetry.
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Photo by Kevin, CC BY-NC 2.0, via Flickr.com.